Final Score: Durham Wildcats 69 Manchester Giants 64
Durham Wildcats capped off a sensational comeback with a win against the Manchester Giants at the Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre yesterday.
Dave Elderkin's side ran out nail-biting 69-64 winners in a match in which Durham had to dig deep.
Devan Bailey got the first points on the board for the visitors but in-form Wildcat Keith Page quickly replied with a smart two-point basket.
Manchester established an early lead with several quick baskets - Durham struggling to continue their fine shooting form from the Mersey Tigers game in which Elderkin's side hit their highest points tally of the campaign.
The teams had never met before in the BBL, but rookie franchise Manchester looked comfortable, James Jones sinking in from the three point line as the Giants piled the pressure on.
Paul Elderkin sank a three-pointer which was closely followed by a well-worked move capped off by a Mike Baldarelli finish to keep Durham in the game with the score 23-17 in favour of the Giants at the end of the first quarter.
And Manchester came out in the second continuing their bright start to the match with two quick baskets to establish a ten-point lead.
The BBL rookies continued to fire, making it difficult for Durham to find the basket on regular occasions.
And Durham's misery continued with Elderkin's side only managing one out of ten from the three-point line throughout the first half - the Giants leading by 12 going into the locker rooms.
The Wildcats came out in the third quarter revived as they began to rebuild the damaged.
And the fightback began through Baldarelli firing himself into double figures with two well-taken three pointers as a defiant Durham began to play the brand of basketball which has brought them success early on in the season.
Durham went on an exhilarating 16-point run and, in tandem with some great defensive play, the hosts prevented Manchester scoring for five minutes, as the Wildcats forced their way back into the match.
Elderkin's side found their form to win the quarter 22-13 sending the match into a tense final phase with Durham only down by three after a good dunk from Elderkin.
Baldarelli scored once again from the three-point line to level the scores and the Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre crowd erupted as Durham's comeback was completed.
The shell-shocked Giants had no reply as Elderkin propelled Durham into the lead with a good basket as Durham managed to hang on into the dying seconds to earn a third BBL win of the season.